Creating a Positive Culture for Innovation

For many of us the year either has started or is about to start. Those first few weeks are the most important in establishing positive culture in our classrooms. In my school we’re moving to 1:1 iPads, so creating a risk-taking culture where students know the boundaries but aren’t afraid to make mistakes is so important.

#satchatoc had a meaningful discussion about establishing a culture of innovation in schools. Building this culture of innovation and creativity is essential to bring schools and students into the present and get them ready to lead in the future.

This idea of creating a culture where students and educators alike utilize technology to problem-solve and create a better world is an ongoing theme in education.

How do we encourage creativity and innovation in the classroom? Creation tools like iMovie, Educreation, Explain Everything, Thinglink, blogging, and Book Creator can help.

So, how do we get people to this place of innovation?

As educators we are always working to better ourselves, trying to learn so that we can share our ideas with our students. By being connected, we open a whole world (literally) of information and people to learn from. This chat is a perfect example as it is called #satchatoc; is based in Oceania yet draws an international crowd.

Modeling multiple solutions to questions as well as big ideas is huge! If we as the model in schools can get this and show our students that often problems do not have just one answer, it makes it okay for them to take risks, grow, and seek multiple answers to questions.

Moral of the story: what we do week one with our teachers and our students to create a positive culture where taking risks becomes the norm will determine how our year goes.

How are you starting your year?

Beginning of the School Year Message

 CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)  by Gerd Altmann

CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) by Gerd Altmann

As the new school year is starting, I have so many things that I want to share with teachers. Here is my (for now) consolidated list.

1. Don’t be afraid to take risks in your classroom. We don’t learn and become better educators, or better people for that matter, unless we take a chance. There will be times that we will fail; it is in those times that we learn the most, though. Pick yourself up, be reflective, be transparent, and move on.

2. Build great relationships. Relationships are the first step to having a well-run classroom. Without trust from students and parents, it is difficult later to engage students in learning and discipline students when necessary. You don’t want me as the administrator to have to save the day often because that weakens what you have established in your own class. Also, build relationships between your co-workers. We spend so much time together and rely on one another. Collaboration and teamwork is imperative. You are one another’s most amazing resource.

3. Become connected. This term has a whole new meaning today! With Twitter it is so easy to collaborate with people across the country and the world. I have made friendships that I never before imagined due to social media. I have learned so much from connecting through Twitter; from read my feed and from participating in weekly chats. Find some that apply to you and it’s personalized learning at its best! Start small and follow a few people and lurk if you are unsure. Join in a content or grade level chat. You will be amazed at how much you will learn. Now I have discovered Voxer and Voxer chats which have opened up a new world of voice collaboration.

4. Find one new idea that you will try with fidelity and use well all year long. Maybe it’s Edmoto, Remind, Evernote, Padlet. Whatever it is, commit and use it well all the time –not just every now and then.

What do you think is the message we need to give teachers? What is most important as we open the new academic year?

TwitterLand

 Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) Hannah Rosen


Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Hannah Rosen

 

As I reflect, I’m not even sure how I’ve gotten to this point. It has happened so subtly…. Several years ago I opened my Twitter account, followed a few people, and that was about it. This past summer that all changed. I don’t remember the catalyst for the change. I started following more educators and education organizations. I started reading feeds regularly. Then I discovered THE TWITTER CHAT. Oh my! How has it been possible that I didn’t know these existed? This simple one-hour-of-learning has revolutionized my week –okay, truth be told, most weeks, it’s much more than one hour. It’s #edtechchat on Mondays, #edchat (if there’s not tennis) on Tuesdays, then I have to choose #PTchat, #ATPLC, #SBL or #STEMgenius, then there’s #GAED, #BYOT,   #1to1ipad, and finally one my favorites….can’t seem to start the weekend off without it and my coffee #satchat. To think that a year ago I didn’t know these existed, and now I have built relationships WITH HUMAN BEINGS on Twitter. This is such a difficult thing to explain to people; I’ve spent months trying to explain the power of learning that can happen when I get to choose my own learning. I have done mini-chats with my own faculty, so they could experience one and feel confident enough to try it on their own. I pretty much scream it from the rooftops: TWITTER CHATS ARE POWERFUL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES…….. to anyone who will listen.

I know for me, I need to implement what I learn immediately. When I was in graduate school. my lesson plans often changed the next day to put something into practice. When I saw Jeff Anderson –one of my writing idols–speak one morning, my lesson plans changed for my afternoon classes. With the articles I read and discuss in these Twitter chats, I implement what I learn as I’m learning it. As an administrator, I get an idea and give it a try the next day. Sometimes I can directly utilize it; other times, it’s something for me to pass on to my teachers; other times still, it’s a way of thinking about something or a way of leading that will take me into the future.

I am looking forward to ISTE14 because there I will have the opportunity to put faces to many of the handles I have come to recognize. I value the relationships and the learning that has taken place in TwitterLand. I look forward to the daily and weekly inspiration that I cannot get any other place except there.

 

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Catina: teaching, learning, leading, creating

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